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Accidents Happen by Sharon Karaa

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Accidents Happen is a thought-provoking, lighthearted, and quick read because, if you're like me, you will not be able to put it down. It reads like a chick-lit rom-com, and it is in many ways, but it has much more substance and plot than a typical book in these genres.

Eight days before her wedding, Tabitha finds herself taking the place of a soul collector (think grim reaper) while he makes himself comfortable in her body. While she waits for the big guys to have a meeting to discuss her fate, Cooper (who is as gorgeous as he is annoying) is assigned to babysit her to make sure she doesn't cause too much trouble. While she tries to keep up with her life on Earth she is also navigating the afterlife and the relationships she has found there. My main complaint is that I found Tabitha to be whiny and spoiled at times, which doesn't seem to fit with the rough time she had growing up.

I laughed-out-loud at several points in this book and reading it had a snowball effect on me: the further I got the faster I read because I just had to find out what happened. I ended up reading it in less than 24 hours and largely in one sitting. The plot is uniquely refreshing and unlike anything I have read before. Twists that I didn't see coming came together perfectly at the end. I look forward to reading more from this author.

5/5 Stars

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

November Recap

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November was mostly quiet and low-key. It was a Whole 30 month for me that was mostly successful; I took a few liberties throughout the month and then towards the end there were a few meals that were definitely not compliant. I think going forward I'll do it for 2 weeks or so at a time, maybe a full 30 days once a year or so. I feel a lot better when I eat cleaner so I plan to incorporate more Whole 30 and Paleo recipes into my regular diet.


At the beginning of the month I went to a Digital Photo Expo put on by Kenmore Camera, where I ended up going to get my camera sensor cleaned because I couldn't get it clean myself. I went with a friend who is also into photography and while we didn't really know what to expect we were able to make two lectures that were interesting. One was on portrait photography with Pamela Berry from Westcott and the other was using lenses to enhance composition with Peter Lee from Canon. Now that I know what to expect I'll know how to plan better for next year.

While visiting a park over the summer I learned that November is Salmon SEEson in the Seattle area. You can visit certain creeks to watch the salmon swim upstream to mate, lay eggs, and die! I had no idea how exciting this would be and I feel like it pushed me over the edge to peak-PNW. I guess I'm official now?



As exciting as the salmon are (I've gone twice so far), the most exciting event this month was seeing NEIL GAIMAN speak. He is one of my most favorite authors and it was thrilling to hear him answer questions and read from his books.

Hulu had an amazing Black Friday deal so I signed up for the first time. The first thing we watched was Castle Rock and Joe and I both really liked it. We aren't too sure about the ending but the rest of it was so good that I still recommend watching it. I guess you can never go wrong with a Stephen King/Bill Skarsgard collab. Speaking of Stephen King, I consumed my first book of his: Salem's Lot by way of an audiobook. I really enjoyed it and plan to read more of his next year.

Doing Whole 30 in November meant that I searched for festive dishes for Thanksgiving. This led me to the holy grail of green bean casserole recipes. I made half of the recipe because it was just the two of us but it was so good that the next day I made it again, the full recipe this time. And you remember how I mentioned taking certain liberties this month? This vegan GF peanut butter fudge may have been a part of that. It is so good it will make you cry and it's healthy for you... right?

The view from our living room.
Yolks in just the right places.

There is one species of hummingbird that stays in Seattle during the winter and I've got them covered. 😬

Butt cuddles!

One of those "liberties" I mentioned above... but I didn't have a choice because Trophy only has pumpkin pie cupcakes during the month of November.
Reason #265 why I love the Fit. Jacques's stroller fits in the back, making dual vet visits much easier.

As I look toward December, I'll be volunteering at my 12th (12! That's six years!) Urban Craft Uprising show, attending a holiday party, taking a girl's trip to Bellingham, and a few other fun things. How was your November?

If you'd like to keep up with me more often during the month, you can find me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

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Several months ago while browsing in a bookstore, a friend recommended Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows to me. It sounded cute but something I would not normally seek out to read. I put it on my ever-growing TBR list anyway so I wouldn't forget it. I found the audiobook version on one of Audible's recent sales and decided to get it. I'm so glad I did.

It is romance-meets-mystery-meets- regular life. Nikki, the daughter of two Indian immigrants living in London, is the wild card of the family due to dropping out of law school, moving out of her parent's home to live on her own, and working as a bartender at a pub. She does not want a traditional Indian life for herself; she wants to work, have sex, and if she gets married she wants it to be to someone she chooses.

Through a pretty funny turn of events, Nikki finds herself teaching a group of Punjabi widows how to write erotic stories rather than learn to read and write. [Warning!] Many of their short stories are included in the book and there is a wide variety of them. After a while she finds herself thinking of these women as family. She is drawn to helping solve the decades-old murder that the group has whispered about and she finds herself in need of their help as well.

This is a bright, fun, enlightening read that will make you spare a second thought for both your elders and other cultures.

5/5 Stars

Wednesday Whimsy #21

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Happy Wednesday, the first one of November. I have a massage scheduled for today so it is an especially happy one. I'm looking at my calendar for the month and I notice that I don't have anything French on the books. I'll have to find a new themed book release or a Whole 30-friendly French recipe to try to spice things up a little. Oh! Or I can find a new French movie I haven't seen. Once I finish binging Outlander I'll be free to do those sorts of things.

Books
Two new Frenchy books out are Fromage à Trois and The Rain Watcher. I haven't read either of them but they both look great to me.

Links
Just being- Why the French don't show excitement.
Since I'm newly obsessed with Outlander, what little I could read of this article is fascinating! Forgotten Bravery of French Troops at Culloden.
It turns out more and more Parisians are choosing to be cremated because it is so expensive to be buried there.
An interesting take on a Parisian apartment. I love the bedroom.
How to take better care of yourself using French beauty secrets.
And the most timely: How to have a French-inspired Thanksgiving!

Update
An update from my last Wednesday Whimsy- I made boeuf bourguignon from Ann Mah's Instantly French and W O W!! It is hands down the best boeuf bourguignon recipe I have ever made and possibly one of the best recipes period. I highly recommend this book even just for that one recipe.

Merci for reading.

October Recap

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October seemed like a short month for me. I spent over half of it -16 days- in the Southwest on a road trip. Joe and I drove from Washington through Oregon and Idaho and on to Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and back home. For the rest of the month I pretty much just ate out with friends in anticipation of doing Whole 30 again for the month of November.

New Releases
An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor


I finally made it to Country Village in Bothell, WA. It's a cute little shopping center and I found the S.S. Pen Pal, a tiny store in a boat on a little pond (seen below) run by an older Russian gentleman who makes the most beautiful pens. And you can make your own pen at no additional cost. Sadly the whole shopping center will be torn down in April so I have to go back before then to make one.


By way of sweat and tears (not really, I just wasted 20 minutes stalking ticketmaster) I finally got tickets for the live show of the podcast My Favorite Murder on the 20th. They were funny, the stories were great, and it went by entirely too fast.


Without really knowing much about it, I went to see First Man. Ryan Gosling usually doesn't do a bad movie plus I grew up in Florida so I have a soft spot for anything Space-Center related. It ended up being an emotional, terrifying (why does anyone want to go up in a space shuttle!?), and fantastic movie. I'm taking Joe when it makes it way to our local second-run theater.

Possibly the highlight of the whole Southwest trip was going to Ernest Hemingway's grave on the very last day. We drove three hours round trip out of the way because I figured, when am I ever going to be in that area again? Turns out Ketchum, ID and the surrounding area is beautiful and Joe and I hope to go back! Maybe on our way to a road trip in Montana/Wyoming next year.


I hope everyone also had a great October. So far November holds for me two author events (one of them is a really big deal!!!) and a few friend dates. What are you looking forward to?

If you'd like to follow along throughout the month you can find me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Alice by Christina Henry

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Alice is a darker book than I usually read. Not dark in a horror or gory way, but in a way where a lot of bad things happen in a really bad place and not a lot of good is going on. Old City, where the novel takes place, is split up into sections that are run by (the equivalent of) mob bosses and the citizens live in constant fear of the bosses or those who work for them. Everyone is poor and women live in constant fear of being raped, or eaten then raped. It's a grim read.

In addition to being depressing, I don't feel that Alice and Hatcher's characters were developed very well. Alice seems very wishy washy in her thoughts and actions aren't always believable. For me Hatcher felt like a crutch for Alice to get where she needed to go in the book. She is not a strong enough character to stand on her own.

Many of the ideas in the book are interesting and I like how Cheshire, the Caterpillar, and the Rabbit were made into men and each of their lairs were very imaginative. The ending though is one of the most disappointing endings I've read. It feels like the author had no idea how to get out of the corner she backed herself into so she just decided to invent something quick and easy that didn't have anything to do with the rest of the story.

It's not a terrible book and it was interesting enough to finish, but I just didn't like it.

2/5 Stars

September Recap

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For me September was busy and held a variety of things. I started the month off in North Carolina visiting family and celebrating my nephew's third birthday. We have had cooler weather in Seattle since the end of August and Fall weather is definitely in full swing now. Here are some highlights from the rest of the month:

New Book Releases
In Paris September 4
Vengeful September 25
Instantly French September 25   
The Little Swedish Kitchen September 25
The Botanical Bible September 25 

Events
Victoria Schwab at Third Place Books. As usual, she was fantastic! I love the vast majority of her books. She has an extremely varied range of books so there's something for everyone from her library.


The Early November at El Corazon. My favorite band since 2002 and it was so, so good to see them live again. AND I got to hear my very favorite song live.



Food
Il Corvo. A favorite among both locals and visitors, somehow it took me 6.5 years to try this place. Despite it being really popular, I was disappointed. The flavors didn't wow me.
TNT Taqueria. My second time here, but this time I had the Gringo Burrito and it was amazing. I can no longer say I don't like burritos.
McMenamins Tavern on the Square. A friend introduced me to McMenamins Anderson School. McMenamins is a company that turns abandoned buildings or lots (in this case, a former middle school) into usable space again. Here they have a hotel, pool, brewery, a few restaurants, and more. The food was good, the atmosphere was great, and I can't wait to explore more here. It would also be a fun staycation for a weekend- you'd never have to leave the grounds!

Pioneer Square, near Il Corvo


Miscellaneous
Outlander. I started watching this tv show and it had a big impact on me. I binged the first season over a few days and have had to take a break before starting the second season to let my emotions recover.
iPhone XS. I am fortunate enough to be on a two-year cycle of getting whatever new iPhone comes out. I upgraded from the 7 to the XS and it was a big jump. I originally didn't like the idea of facial recognition and had planned on getting an 8 Plus, but the camera was too good of a draw and I did not want a phone as big as the plus is. It's like carrying around an ipad! I love love love my new phone and am excited to take it on our trip in a few days.
Yoga.  I started practicing Yoga in August and this month I participated in Adriene Mishler's Yoga for All. I'm a little behind and have one day left in the course but I highly recommend it, it has been challenging but so fun and rewarding.

Next month I am looking forward to the release of Muse of Nightmares (If you haven't read Strange the Dreamer, go! Hurry!), visiting the Southwest US for the first time, and HALLOWEEN. How was your September?

If you would like to follow along with me throughout the month, you can find me on Goodreads and Twitter.